Blog Post By Jona Elwell

What Grade did D.C. Receive for 2018 Tree Report Card?

Each year on Arbor Day, Casey Trees releases our Tree Report Card, which measures the quantity and condition of D.C.’s trees and the collective efforts of all groups and individuals working to achieve the District’s 40 percent tree canopy goal. At its heart, the Tree Report Card is a benchmark to measure the previous year’s efforts and see what areas we and others working to re-tree D.C. can improve on.

The only independent assessment of D.C.’s trees on both public and private lands, the Tree Report Card was released on Arbor Day and gave the nation’s capital an A for 2018!

This is the highest grade D.C.has ever received. The overall grade given is a combination of four metrics:

Tree Coverage (A) | Tree Health (B-) | Tree Planting (A+) | Tree Protection (A)

Our Executive Director, Mark Buscaino, is thrilled by the progress, but cautious about the future. We must act now to preserve healthy soil, so we can plan for future residents, and for future trees. “Despite the progress, a growing threat – noted in prior report cards – persists: an increasingly large portion of D.C.’s land is covered by concrete and asphalt. With a growing population and the need for more housing, this trend will only continue. More hard surfaces means more stormwater runoff, increased pollution and related impacts to the city’s already compromised streams and rivers. It is important to recognize that over 41 percent of the District’s land is covered by impervious surfaces, which exceeds the city’s canopy cover of 38 percent. Think about that – our City of Trees has more roads, buildings and parking lots than trees – and that should concern us all. ”

(To stem the loss of green space, Casey Trees is introducing the new Save Our Soil program. This innovative approach is revolutionizing the way we think about present and future green spaces in the District. Stay tuned to The Leaflet for more on Save Our Soil next week!)

Ultimately this Tree Report Card is a celebration of our efforts and a call to action for our future. To stem the loss of greenspace, we encourage Mayor Bowser to adopt a city-wide impervious surface maximum percentage, advocate for Casey Trees’ Save Our Soil campaign, and convene an expert panel to create a tree canopy goal for all plantable space in D.C. in order to help reach an overall tree canopy of 40 percent by 2032.

Of course, there are so many partners that play a part in D.C.’s canopy. We thank all our partners, from government agencies to fellow nonprofits, to schools and organizations, for making trees a priority in the city by planting, caring and protecting trees in the District as well as sharing their data to track the collective efforts.

The full Tree Report Card can be found on our website. Help us combat the growing threat of impervious surfaces – plant a canopy tree (for free!) to help absorb stormwater runoff.

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